LED tape in scenic pieces

rmarsh

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Location
NH
Hi all,

I have a design project I'd love to hear your thoughts on. We're building these fiberglass waves that vary in height from ~4" to 1'. They'll be sitting on the floor and I want to light them up with LEDs. The one instrument I know that could fit under the smallest ones are Astera Lightdrops. We could rent those but it'd get expensive fast. My other thought is to buy LED tape. I've never done this and I'm not sure how expensive/complicated it might get. Do I need to get the $20 per meter nice stuff or is the $20 per 5 meter stuff usually fine? There are so many power supplies and DMX decoders; how do I know which to get? Some advice would be appreciated. I definitely want RGB and 2-3 channels would be nice.
 

Morte615

Active Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Location
Clermont, FL
I worked with Fiberglass Glacier pieces for a Museum Install. We placed RGB LED strips (the cheaper ones) inside in against the back wall every few feet and connected them to a controller (not DMX but there's no reason you can't use a simple 3 channel DMX controller.) It looked pretty good in the dim hallway they walked through, but when it went full dark you could see the lines of the lights. That could be fixed by just moving the lights back more or adding more frost to the paint.

A sample of the controller: http://www.holidaycoro.com/3-Channel-DMX-Controller-for-RGB-Lights-12v-DC-p/38.htm

Speaking of paint, make sure they use transparent paint and not opaque paint. Using opaque paint won't let the light through nearly as well, if at all. Though using a mixture of styles is what a good scene shop would do IMO :)
Attaching a few pictures of the setup.
2013-04-17%252014.36.16.jpg 2013-04-17%252014.36.24.jpg 2013-04-17%252014.36.33.jpg 2013-04-17%252017.18.39.jpg 2013-04-17%252017.19.09.jpg 2013-04-17%252017.19.17.jpg 2013-04-17%252017.19.22.jpg 2013-04-17%252017.19.29.jpg 2013-04-17%252017.19.37.jpg
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: Scarrgo

rmarsh

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Location
NH
That's a good bit like what we're doing. I'm thinking I may go for the more expensive tape since it looks like higher density LEDs on the strip will blend better.

I'm using an Ion to control and by 2-3 channels I actually meant 2-3 grouping of RGB. I've already gotten used to the Ion way of calling an entire fixture one channel. So I guess that means I'll need at least a couple DMX decoders and possibly more than one power converter.

I worked with Fiberglass Glacier pieces for a Museum Install. We placed RGB LED strips (the cheaper ones) inside in against the back wall every few feet and connected them to a controller (not DMX but there's no reason you can't use a simple 3 channel DMX controller.) It looked pretty good in the dim hallway they walked through, but when it went full dark you could see the lines of the lights. That could be fixed by just moving the lights back more or adding more frost to the paint.

A sample of the controller: http://www.holidaycoro.com/3-Channel-DMX-Controller-for-RGB-Lights-12v-DC-p/38.htm

Speaking of paint, make sure they use transparent paint and not opaque paint. Using opaque paint won't let the light through nearly as well, if at all. Though using a mixture of styles is what a good scene shop would do IMO :)
Attaching a few pictures of the setup.
View attachment 11198 View attachment 11199 View attachment 11200 View attachment 11201 View attachment 11202 View attachment 11203 View attachment 11204 View attachment 11205 View attachment 11206
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
That's a good bit like what we're doing. I'm thinking I may go for the more expensive tape since it looks like higher density LEDs on the strip will blend better.

I'm using an Ion to control and by 2-3 channels I actually meant 2-3 grouping of RGB. I've already gotten used to the Ion way of calling an entire fixture one channel. So I guess that means I'll need at least a couple DMX decoders and possibly more than one power converter.

Sounds like you already know where you need to be going. I don't know what Ion is, but higher density tape is what I use most. Urr, yes decoders and power supplies dependant on length and channels. Will add up $$$ a lot, and your leg work is going to be important. Housing for the power supplies, connectors if road show, power suppliy housings and lots of more.

Beyond that, match up all your LED tape to each other in color matching and buy extra before assembly. There is lot number problems between tapes and buy extra because there will be problems in assembly. Them little pads even if proper solder do lift off at times especially if too much heat or flex. LED tape will get better and has already but buy extra and test what you get. Nodes will go out etc. Leave accessable to replace during the run, if portable setup good connectors to unplug and nothing moved while doing so etc. and etc.

Replaced many many installed LED tapes over the years, this both on bad lot number on istall and later even months later on a tour. Dislike them kind of in being glad to be working on a Encapsulite fluorescent lamp project this week for a change. With it's own challenges.
 

kyleelton

Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Location
Abilene, TX
rmarsh, I'm working with the LED tape for the first time and I have done a little research, but still am unclear. How are you connecting the LED tape strips to your light board? Tape comes with a unique controller that came with the strips and don't have a DMX output. I found some three channel controllers and some 24 channel controller at drastically different prices. You seem to have that part figured out. Can you clue me in?
 

microstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Location
Lawton, OK
rmarsh, I'm working with the LED tape for the first time and I have done a little research, but still am unclear. How are you connecting the LED tape strips to your light board? Tape comes with a unique controller that came with the strips and don't have a DMX output. I found some three channel controllers and some 24 channel controller at drastically different prices. You seem to have that part figured out. Can you clue me in?
See: http://sirs-e.com/product-category/led-lighting/led-strip-lights/led-dmx-controllers/
for DMX LED strip controllers like the picture:
 

Attachments

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Location
Michigan
Elation also sells a single output, and 8 output led tape controller. I just used a few of the 8 drivers in a project. They're nice, because they don't need an external power supply. A little pricier than the single outputs (and they can only drive as much as 3 of the single outputs), but it is nice to have all in one package.
 

rmarsh

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Location
NH
Those are like the sort of controllers I was looking at. I never ended up actually doing this project since all the fiberglass scenery got cut from the show (Oh well). I still really want to play with LED strips sometime though so hopefully some other show will come up that gives me an excuse to buy them.
 

Chris Chinni

Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Location
Spring Hill, FL
Those are like the sort of controllers I was looking at. I never ended up actually doing this project since all the fiberglass scenery got cut from the show (Oh well). I still really want to play with LED strips sometime though so hopefully some other show will come up that gives me an excuse to buy them.
Buy some of the cheap ones and play with them at home. You can get a roll of 15' or so for about $30 on Aamzon.

I currently have 15' on the underside of a drum cage roof to provide some overhead lighting so that the drummer doesn't look like he is in a cave. They are nowhere near as nice as the Chauvet Colorpalletts I have on the floor of that same drum booth, but they are bright enough to add dimension to his face and movements.

They are RGB and I can turn on each color independently. But, since the LEDs are about 1/2" apart, I find that it works best when I am using combinations of all three colors.

I have also used them as accent lighting for glass brick cake pedestals.
 

Users who are viewing this thread